Arizona baseball swept at home by Utah
Arizona's Robby Medel pitches during the UA-Utah game on Saturday, April 22. The Wildcats lost 4-2 and got swept by the Utes.
The Arizona baseball team got swept for only the second time this season after falling to Utah 4-2 in the series finale Saturday night at Hi-Corbett behind an outstanding complete-game effort by Utah left-hander Josh Lapiana. The UA offense struggled for the second consecutive game as it was only able to score two runs on six hits.
The Utes wasted little time getting on the board as DaShawn Keirsey Jr., who led off the game with a single, came around to score on a double by Dallas Carroll. Utah added two more when next batter Hunter Simmons singled to center. After Wade Gulden bunted Simmons to second, Rio Gomez was relieved by Michael Flynn after recording only one out. The Wildcats got out of the inning after right fielder Alfonso Rivas threw out Simmons at the plate and tracked down a deep fly ball in right center.
The Utes tacked on another in the second when Keirsey walked, stole second then scored on a single by Oliver Dunn to make it 4-0.
The Wildcats, who leads the Pac-12 in batting, struggled to get the offense going for the second consecutive game. UA threatened in the fifth when Rivas led off with a single and moved to second on a ball in the dirt with one down but the Wildcats were unable to bring him in.
UA again threatened in the sixth when Mitchell Morimoto singled with one out and went to third on a Jared Oliva single. J.J. Matijevic promptly drove in Morimoto with a sacrifice fly to decrease the deficit to three.
After the tough outing by Gomez, UA relievers did a terrific job of keeping Utah hitters at-bay. Flynn went 4.2 innings while allowing one run on three hits with three strikeouts. Robby Medel followed Flynn’s lead by throwing four solid scoreless innings with two strikeouts.
“They take good at-bats and don’t swing at very many balls,” Medel said. “I had good intent and good conviction on my pitches and was able to execute.”
UA stranded a runner in scoring position again in the seventh when Rivas led off with a double off the right center field wall and advanced to third on a sac fly by Cory Voss. Next batter Ryan Haug lined one to the left side that looked as if it would fall for a hit but Utah shortstop Ellis Kelly made an outstanding leaping grab to rob Haug of an RBI hit. Coach Jay Johnson then brought in Cal Stevenson to pinch hit for Cameron Cannon, but Stevenson flew out to center to end the frame.
The Wildcats simply could not figure out Utah starter Lapiana who threw a complete game while only allowing two runs on six hits with six strikeouts.
“It started with their [Utah] pitching staff, they were really good,” Johnson said. “They played extremely good defense. I’m going to tip my hat to them. We are going to make some adjustments from a development and personnel standpoint and go back to work on being prepared to play on Tuesday.”
The Wildcats will now host New Mexico State on Tuesday a 6 p.m. at Hi-Corbett.
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